Tips & Tricks

LANGUAGE LEARNING PLATEAU


Do you know what a plateau is?

a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress.
“the peace process had reached a plateau”

What’s a Language Learning Plateau?

A language learning plateau occurs when you stop learning as quickly. It’s easy to make quick progress early on, but as you learn more, you naturally slow down. Because of this, a language learning plateau frequently occurs when learners reach an intermediate/advanced level of language proficiency.

Why Do Language Learning Plateaus Occur?

There are a few reasons why you may be experiencing a language learning plateau.

  • You’ve met your goals. A lot of learners set goals that are reached by the time they reach an intermediate level. For instance, you might want to be able to hold a basic conversation or be able to read a newspaper or book in your target language. If you’ve met all your learning goals, your learning will naturally pause.
  • You don’t have goals. Whether you never had any goals to begin with or you just haven’t set new ones since you achieved your previous objectives, not having goals can halt language learning progress. Without a clear idea of what you hope to achieve, you don’t have a clear direction for focused study.
  • You lack confidence. As an intermediate learner, you’ve come a long way, but you also know enough to realize there’s a lot you don’t know. This can diminish confidence and make you feel like you can’t possibly become fluent or communicate as clearly as you’d like.
  • There’s a natural slowdown. Even if you do everything right, language learning plateaus can naturally occur. It’s not a fun truth, but at the same time, at least you aren’t solely responsible for your current rut!

 Ok, I get it. But the real question is: what are the ways to get unstuck and be back in the game?

1. Set clear goals.

Once you’ve plateaued, not knowing what to do next can be a big part of the problem. If you don’t know what to do next, your studying will be less focused, so your learning will slow down.

Clear goals will alleviate this by providing you with the focus you need to surge ahead. It’s important to base these goals on your current language level and make them realistic. Setting a specific timeline for your goal is also a good way to keep yourself on the right track.

Overly ambitious goals, like becoming fluent in a week, can demotivate you by setting you up for failure. Set realistic goals that are somewhat challenging but that you know you can achieve.

For instance, you might resolve to learn a new set of vocabulary words or memorize irregular verb conjugations in the next week.

Regardless of what your goals are, having these clear benchmarks will help keep you moving in the right direction.

2. Use authentic material.

Most students will have focused on resources for learners up until they plateau. While this is a helpful way to understand the underlying structure and rules of a language, you’ll need to start consuming more authentic material to make your push towards fluency. That means you should really start watching TV in English every day. A good teacher would have told you that by now.

3. Focus on problem areas.

At the plateau level, bad habits or mistakes start to become more ingrained, so it’s time to correct them.

A good way to assess your own skill without a proficiency test is to think through what you’re most comfortable with. If you had to communicate with a native speaker, would you feel more comfortable doing it through speaking or writing? 

While you may be at an intermediate level overall, chances are that you have some areas that are stronger and some areas that are weaker. Once you find these areas, all you have left to do is work on improving your weak points!

For instance, if you struggle with listening, do more listening exercises. Sure, it may seem obvious, but taking the obvious steps that you may have previously overlooked is important at this point in the process.

Not only will putting time and effort into improving your problem areas improve your language skills, it will also make your confidence skyrocket.

READING QUESTIONS

WHAT IS THE MAIN POINT OF THE ARTICLE?

IS A LANGUAGE LEARNING PLATEAU NATURAL?

WHAT ARE THE 4 REASONS WHY LANGUAGE LEARNING PLATEAUS OCCUR?

WHAT ARE 3 WAYS TO GET UNSTUCK?

CAN YOU GIVE EXAMPLES?

 

VOCABULARY

ARE THERE ANY NEW WORDS OR EXPRESSIONS TO YOU  IN IN THE ARTICLE?

GRAMMAR

CAN YOU FIND EXAMPLES OF:

ADVANCED VERB TENSES

INVERSIONS

CONDITIONALS

ADVANCED PUNCTUATION

ADVANCED ADVERBS

 

SPEAKING

RECORD YOURSELF  TALKING ABOUT THE MAIN POINTS OF THE TEXT. YOU SHOULD INCLUDE ANSWERS FROM THE READING SECTION.

 

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